Local News
Eyewitness Sports
Medical Coverage
Call For Action
More Details
What's On WPRI
What's On Fox
2 Minute Test Drive
Experts Online
Online Store
Chopper 12
Station Info

MARKETPLACE:  Auto | Jobs | People Search | Personals | Travel | Yellow Pages  January 14, 2005
Education | House & Home | Money | Pets | Recipes | Relationships | What's Next | More Topics...
The Investigators
We uncover potential problems with Providence's property tax system
Email to a Friend Printer Friendly Version  

Eyewitness News discovers potential problems with the city of Providence's property tax system.

The city says it collects a very high percentage of outstanding taxes. We uncovered the system of record keeping can be confusing and misleading- leaving some tax payers not getting their bills and losing their homes.

When we asked the city for the names of delinquent taxpayers, several weeks went by before we got a list and quickly learned it was incomplete.

In fact, it underestimated the taxes that might be owed to the city by more than a million dollars.

The city's finance director assured us no effort was being made to protect anyone and that some property owners left off the list were in bankruptcy or were seeking tax exempt status.

"It was my understanding that when we provided the list that in trying to, not knowing how they were going to be used or whatever, properties that were in dispute maybe litigation..."

W hen Eyewitness News notified the city there were property owners who should be on the tax delinquent list, but were not, the city came up with a 17-page supplemental list of tax delinquents.

On the new list was the Rhode Island Community Food Bank.Taxes owed - $108,607.

Since that time, the city council has forgiven 75,000 of the Food Bank taxes, the remaining $33,000 was collected by the city..

Another prominent name left off the initial list was Trinity Repertory Company for new property on Empire Street.Taxes owed - about $40,000.

A request has been made to forgive those taxes, but no decision has been made by the city council.

The first list said there was $1,5 million in delinquent taxes. The supplemental list said there was an additional $1.3 million in outstanding taxes- for a total of about $2.8 million.

Mayor David Cicilline said his is an open administration and he would look into why we were not provided a complete tax delinquent list to begin with.

"You should always get the materials request as quickly as we can get them to you."

W e also learned that the records are not always what they seem.For example, the list of tax delinquents shows companies owned by some real estate speculators owe the city taxes, but that is not necessarily the case.Despite what the documents say, the taxes are owed by the property owner, not the speculator who has purchased a lien on the property at a city tax sale.

"Well, the tax bill goes to the person who owns the tax lien, but i believe the property owner should still pay the taxes up until they areforeclosed."

M any people complain that the city does not properly notify property owners when they owe taxes.

The city says it does.But critics say the system that has tax bills going to speculators rather than to property owners causes confusion.The city promises to change that procedure by notifying property owners of outstanding taxes as well.

Local News
Governor names replacement for child advocate
Eyewitness News RSS Feeds
Try the very latest way to read Eyewitness News headlines. Never miss an important story!
Mollicone going back to jail
Romney Prepares for His State of the State
Judge Allowing Criminal History
More Than Two Million Going to Conservation
Warwick Kicks Off Tunami Aid Campaign
R.I. National Guard soldier returns from Afghanistan
Governor makes nomination for new health insurance commissioner post
Joe Mollicone is back in prison after violating parole
National News  more» 
Preliminary estimates put damage at over $100 million in storm-battered California
Abu Ghraib abuse case rests without Graner's testimony
Advisers debate safety of allowing over-the-counter sales of cholesterol drug
Police investigate multiple deaths in Dallas
States propose paying premiums for National Guard life insurance
Bush expected to propose raising Pell Grant award
Atheist asks judge to prevent prayer at Bush inauguration
Bush heading to Florida to focus on education, job training plans
More residents to return to South Carolina homes
Rains bring more flooding worries all over Ohio
Is Your Financial House in Order?
Take a look at your New Year's resolution list. Is "make a budget," "save more money," or "start investing" on there? Click now for simple solutions.
What's a Good Credit Score?
It's your right to know what credit scoring agencies are saying about you. Learn what's considered a "good" score.
Living With Diabetes
Part of living with Diabetes is managing it properly. A free Diabetes Health Organizer can help.
Send questions and comments about this website to the .
All content © Copyright 2003-2005 WorldNow, WPRI, WNAC and Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.